More Church Closures in Indonesia
Urgent prayer is needed in light of an alarming number of recent incidents against churches in Indonesia. This month, a Catholic church in west Sumatra was set on fire by unknown people. Thankfully, the fire was put out before it spread. In West Java, a Pentecostal church was looted by authorities who claimed there was a problem with their worship permit. These incidents are just the tip of the iceberg; between Dec. 2013 and May 2014, at least 23 church-related incidents have been recorded across the country.
Two other incidents took place in Papua where arsonists attempted to burn down a church, and a local Christian was stabbed. It is unclear, however, whether the motives for all of the attacks are purely religious. In some cases, the churches bear some of the fault for “inviting” persecution. Many members of traditional churches in Indonesia are nominal Christians, whose lifestyles present a negative witness in their society. This is often due to a liberal consumption of alcohol-something that is often perceived badly by Muslims.
Please pray that the leaders of those churches affected by the incidents will have wisdom, and that the church members would have perseverance. Also pray for revival in the mainstream churches; that they may be effective witnesses in their community by striving for holiness.
Father, we pray for the complex position Christians in Indonesia often find themselves in. We pray for good discipling of nominal believers; that You might draw them into a true relationship with Yourself, and that they might live righteous lives before their countrymen. We pray for the church leaders whose churches have been attacked; that You would grant them godly wisdom as they respond to violence in God-honoring ways, as they seek ways to continue worship when their churches have been destroyed and as they sort through how to lead their congregations in the midst of the many roadblocks to worship. We pray for the church members; that they may not become disheartened by the continuing struggles. Grant them perseverance, looking to Christ and His sufficiency rather to their own human weakness and the harassment of local village leaders. Give them hearts of thankful worship, whether they are in church buildings or in homes or under trees. In the name of Jesus, who strengthens His Church, Amen.